Workshop focuses on child protection
Members of the Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.) took part in a two-day training on child protection which the UNICEF hopes will upskill them to run similar workshops with parents and children.
The training at the Lava Hotel started last Friday and concluded on Saturday with the UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Aladin Borja saying that the training will equip S.V.S.G. staff with the capacity to conduct similar workshops with parents and children in the community.
He said this is the first of many workshops in order to develop a full curriculum with the training focusing on areas such as developing a knowledge, attitude and practices (K.A.P.) tool.
“S.V.S.G. is one of the key child care actors in Samoa,” Mr Borja said and added that UNICEF supports the S.V.S.G. through funding as well as technical building capacity to be able to provide and deliver services.
“We are developing a questionnaire because we really want to ensure what we do is effective,” he said.
“Developing that questionnaire allows it to have a baseline to understand where the parents are at but also the children, adolescents who will be engaging in the programme."
Mr Borja said that the K.A.P. questionnaire is also used to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme towards the end of implementation as the same survey will be used to see if there are significant changes after and whether they were really able to achieve their goals.
“We also discussed adapting and contextualizing a positive discipline curriculum," he said.
“In child protection work there is a framework we are following, so we have the more preventive or preventative approaches which include life skills, awareness raising and behavior change campaigns.
“The reason why we are developing this curriculum is because we want to equip parents with tools for them to properly care for their children in a non-violent way, so moving away from corporal punishment to a more positive discipline approach when it comes to parenting that is part of our prevention efforts.”
Similarly, with adolescence, we want to equip them with the skills for them to thrive in life.
“When you are engaging adolescences in life skills training, essentially you want to teach them self-awareness, self-management for them to regulate their emotions, to cope with stress and to build their social awareness to build empathy.
“In Samoa, some of the key issues include, bullying, peer pressure.
“U.N.I.C.E.F. will continue to support S.V.S.G. in their work providing technical support, build their capacity to conduct these workshops with parents and children in the community.”
A Board member of S.V.S.G., Maoi'autele Amitonu Brigitta Fa'afiti told the Samoa Observer that it is common knowledge across Samoa what the role of the S.V.S.G. is.
“But there’s always room to reflect and look back on what have we done and what can we do better and what else needs to be done,” said Maoi'autele.
She added that after doing general work for child protection in terms of the movement for the eradication of violence, the country should look at the statistics and how policies can specifically target the issue of children’s rights, through the avenue of educating parents on children’s rights and positive disciplining or parenting techniques.
“This workshop is a way for S.V.S.G. to really focus on that area of work.
“It is more specific than other general workshops that have happened before and so this is a way to enhance and add to other programmes that have happened out in the community before and provide skills or open dialogue for parents within S.V.S.G.
“We as a Samoan people have always valued and been God fearing people; we have always valued our faith.”
She also mentioned that with beliefs based on God creating everything including the children, the work of the S.V.S.G. is helping the Samoan people remember children’s value.
“Remember the value we place on children and that they are gifts from God, so that we understand how to nurture them, care for them and bring them up to be the people we want them to be providing support.
“Sometimes we don’t get it right but that’s why S.V.S.G. and their work is important to provide those support networks to help us in our communities build stronger, safer families.”